The use of plastic is increasing every day in our lives, but we are yet fully aware of how it is polluting the environment and affecting lives on earth. Bidyanondo Foundation has come up with a brilliant way to show us how threatening plastic could be for us and how we should use and dispose plastic properly. It has built a big monster at the Sugandha point of Cox’s Bazar beach with different kinds of plastic waste collected from Saint Martin and Cox’s Bazar. And it has also set up plastic exchange shops in Saint Martin and Cox’s Bazar beach where tourists and local people are being provided gifts and different food items in exchange for plastic waste.
The monster is 35 feet high and about 14 feet wide. It looks gigantic and it is being called the largest statute made of ocean plastic in Asia. It stands on the beach with its monstrous look drawing attention of tourists and local people and gives out a powerful message in its booking voice, "I am a monster. You have created me by throwing plastic everywhere. Slowly but surely, I will grasp the whole world. I will ruin the environment, pollute the water, and destroy biodiversity. I’m the curse created by your careless actions." Also there are signboards placed around the statute with different messages like "We all have to recycle plastic waste now and won’t let this monster grow again."
We produce about 400 million tonnes of plastic waste every year now. It is one of the main drivers of climate change and threatening us in many ways
At this time of the year, Cox’s Bazar is overflowing with tourists from across home and abroad. This unique initiative by Bidyanondo Foundation and Cox’s Bazar district administration has attracted so many people’s attention on the beach. We were hanging out on the beach in the evening and were surprised to see this statue surrounded by tourists. The inaugural ceremony was going on where Cox’s Bazar district commissioner Muhammad Shaheen Imran said, "The district administration along with Bidyanondo Foundation is trying to convey a message that the accumulated plastic waste and its pollution is turning into a monster day by day and posing a great risk for lives and the environment." I talked to a couple of tourists on the beach about the initiative.
“Often, we see plastic waste everywhere in Cox’s Bazar beach and surrounding areas. It will help people be aware against throwing plastic waste here and there. Cox’s Bazar is called the longest beach in the world, it should be clean.” said Mohammed Rabbi Sheikh, a tourist from Dhaka.
“In Cox’s Bazar, roads and footpaths have been recently renovated and it looks good but the beach and surrounding areas are not clean enough. People have to be aware about littering here and there,” said Shoukat Hossain, a tourist from Lohagara, Chattogram.
According to UN Environment Programme, we produce about 400 million tonnes of plastic waste every year now. It is one of the main drivers of climate change and threatening us in many ways – from rivers to ocean to land to biodiversity. Because of its widespread impact, sometimes it is regarded as a slow weapon of mass destruction. Children are engaged in collecting plastic waste, promoting child labour and affecting children’s education and development. Perhaps it is impossible to avoid the use of plastic nowadays but what is needed is public awareness about dumping plastic everywhere and to have proper plastic waste management systems.
Let’s appreciate this outstanding initiative and avoid throwing plastics like chip packets, water bottles, bags, and many other single use plastics everywhere. Let’s understand that cleanliness makes a place fresh and beautiful, so help keep beach clean. Let’s take the threat of plastics seriously and help each other be aware about disposing plastic in the right place.
Parvez Uddin Chowdhury is a development worker based in Cox’s Bazar. Email: [email protected]